Sunday, 22 October, 2017

When Nirmla Sitharaman taught Chinese soldiers Hindi at Nathu La

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves at Chinese soldiers during a visit to Nathu La Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves at Chinese soldiers during a visit to Nathu La
Saul Franklin | 11 October, 2017, 00:33

Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen having a good time interacting with Chinese soldiers on her maiden visit to the Nathu La border post in Sikkim.

Long after China and India negotiated a face-saving "disengagement" to the Sikkim border standoff, PLA troops are still causing unease with a heavy presence near the disputed terrain.

At this point, some Indian soldiers tried to come to the aid of their Chinese counterparts but Sitharaman asked them to let the PLA men find the meaning on their own.

Earlier, Nirmala Sitharam said she waved at the Chinese soldiers from the across the border who were reportedly taking her pictures. Ms Sitharaman referred to her visits to forward areas and meeting with troops as "eye-opening", an official statement said.

"But Sitharaman's traditional "Namastey" greetings to the Chinese soldiers sent another signal to the public that might not erase the first impression, but may at least balance things out", it added.

The state-run Global Times said in an editorial that the Indian media reports were questionable as it is not the right season for construction work.

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Chinese experts from various educational institutions have appreciated Sitharaman's initiative to advance goodwill.

She was also briefed about the security preparedness along the China-India border in the Sikkim sector by the Chief of Eastern Command Lt Gen Abhay Krishna.

"We urge the Indian side to face the facts, abide by the provisions of the historic boundary treaty and the relevant agreement of the parties", said Beijing on Sunday, in its immediate reaction to Sitharaman's visit to the border. It should consider deepening strategic security communication with China, which can enhance mutual trust between China and India.

The Indian government should show more determination for improving ties as Prime Minister Narendra Modi "enjoys advantages towards achieving that goal", it quoted Qian a saying. New Delhi also needs to give up its pursuit of Washington and Tokyo support to deploy as a bargaining chip against Beijing.

China is said to have started constructing another road on the Doklam plateau, with 500 soldiers protecting construction crew, NDTV reported last week.

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